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[updated: 6/3/21]

Dad and me 2A good friend from my past posted a photo on Facebook, with this caption underneath:

“People are complaining about this Fathers Day picture because they said ‘it’s gay.’ What’s your opinion?”

The picture is of three men kissing one another.

Must be gay. Right?

Wait! They’re kissing each other on the forehead.

OK, maybe not gay.

Hold up! One man is decidedly older and he’s kissing the next younger man on the forehead as that man is at the same time kissing the youngest (a boy, to be precise) on his forehead. So best guess: this is a Father, son and grandson; not inter-generational homosexual lovers.

I think we can turn the “gaydar” off now, folks. Nothing to see here.

My friend who shared the pic declared, “We need… more images like this of men in our world.”

No complaints here. I couldn’t agree more.

We not only need more images like this of men in our world. We need more men like this; willing to show tender affection for one another – especially their own children!

As I said, in my Facebook comment:

“A father kissing his son on the forehead who’s kissing his son on the forehead. Love it. For all I know, one or more of these guys may very well be gay, but what’s being portrayed in this pic isn’t ‘gay love.’ It’s not sexual/eros at all. It’s clearly familial/phileo. The fact that our culture can no longer understand the difference between fatherly love and erotic love is a very very scary thing.”

Love is NOT Love

Sadly, a couple of the other comments to my friend’s post, bore out my concern; that…

Our culture can no longer understand the difference between fatherly and erotic love.

Comment #1: “Men hold hands in many cultures as a sign of friendship. Love is love.”

Do you see the disconnect in that one quote?

  • In the first sentence the writer affirms that there are many ways of expressing friendship (ie. non-sexual affection). Good! I agree! Don’t you?
  • But then in the next three-word sentence the speaker upholds one of the new mantras of a movement seeking to promote various expressions of sexuality.

The first sentence is about friendship and the second about sexual expression. The implication: a man kissing his son on the forehead is no different from a man kissing his lover on the lips.

Think I’m getting my feathers all ruffled up for nothing? Check out this next comment.

Comment #2: “Honestly, we cannot separate touch and nurturing from sex. At all.”

Como say what?

Let me be plain:

Not only can you separate touch and nurturing from sex, but you must be able to do so.

An employee who cannot separate touch and nurturing from sex will discover he has exchanged his former job with a sexual harassment lawsuit.

And as long as we’re talking about a suspected “gay love” photo involving two adults and a young boy, it’s worth noting that the consequences are even steeper for a parent or any childcare worker who cannot separate touch and nurturing from sex. That’s mandatory prison time.

Indeed, I know three friends who have gone to prison for failing to “separate touch and nurturing from sex” and one of them may be there for life. Should they not be in prison for pursuing sexual love with minors? Should they be celebrated instead, because, like, you know, love is love?

This Confusion isn’t a Homosexual Problem

There is a whole world of difference between a man’s love for his son and a man’s love for his lover, whether that lover be a woman or another man, or both.

Put simply: All loves are not equal.

One love is about family connection and the desire to provide, protect, nurture and actually give one’s life for the other. This is what Fatherly love should be.

This is the kind of love I received from my Father as a boy. (Yep, you guessed it – that’s me and my Dad with the matching butterfly collars in the photo above.) Whether it was an occasional kiss on the forehead or full-on “tickle torture,” my Dad showered me with love completely free of sexual overtones or expectations. The kisses and tickle fights may be only a memory now, but I still expect a big bear hug from my Dad every time I see him today.

The other love is about romantic/sexual connection and the desire to enjoy someone’s body; perhaps even use or consume someone’s body.

Sadly, I know more than one man who’s Father expressed this kind of “love” toward them. It breaks my heart that they never got to experience the kind of love my father gave me. It even seems ruthlessly unfair that they did not.

By God’s grace, these men have worked through the emotional wreckage left in the wake of their father’s abuse. (Which means you can to do the same if you lived a similar story.) However, let’s be careful when we talk of love.

If you believe homosexuality to be a legitimate form of sexual expression, then be clear and say that. Say, “sex is sex.” But…

For the love of all the children of the world, forced into sexual acts – not loving acts, SEX acts – let’s not confuse people with the “love is love” mantra anymore. Please!”

Whether you’re a homosexual activist, a homophobe or somewhere in between, can’t we all agree this wording is terribly misleading? (Just look back at the confused comments on the Facebook post I referenced at the start of this piece.)

Whether you can find it in yourself to agree or not, here’s a final thought. “Love is love” is actually the very sort of word-manipulation a sexual predator uses with a child.

“This is just another way we show someone special that we love them. It’s OK. It’s good!”

Finally, if your heart is breaking, like mine, for the stolen innocence of countless children, pray for our culture which cannot tell the difference between fatherly and erotic love.

DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

Dug this weekend’s Date Night Advice (DNA)? Be a good friend and share with your friends on the social media platform of choice: Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter.

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Our LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to grow spiritually and date wisely, so you can marry well.

This discipleship series is NOT for couples, but for the wise individual who wants to prepare for their future marriage like a successful career: intentionally, intelligently and IN ADVANCE!

This discipleship series is NOT about dos and don’ts. It’s about learning the life lessons, mastering the life disciplines, and making the life decisions necessary for relational success.

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Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it! [originally published: 6/2/16]